Matt Ashley focuses his practice on high-stakes business litigation. With experience handling a wide array of highly complex matters for both plaintiffs and defendants, he counsels and represents clients in regard to contract and partnership disputes, real estate, unfair competition and antitrust law, insurance, intellectual property and trade secrets, business torts, securities fraud, and class actions, among others. Most recently, Matt was recognized by the Daily Journal as having secured one of the top defense verdicts in California in 2021.
Matt represents clients at all stages of the business life cycle, from pre-IPO private companies to receivers of bankrupt organizations. Clients appreciate his deep knowledge and analytical approach to each case as well as his ability to streamline and demystify complex issues. Matt works closely with his clients, keeping them informed about strategic developments at every stage of the litigation process. He approaches every matter as though it will go to trial, although he has also negotiated highly favorable settlements, often including complex insurance and tax components.
- Antitrust. Led the defense of a highly-publicized and high-stakes federal antitrust case brought by plaintiffs Apple and Intel against a host of defendants, including Irell clients Fortress Investment Group, Fortress Credit Co., and VLSI Technology. Apple and Intel asserted that Fortress conspired with others to anti-competitively aggregate and assert patents against Apple, Intel and others. Before the first motion to dismiss was even fully briefed, Matt and his team secured an order granting a total stay of discovery. Thereafter, Matt argued three motions to dismiss before U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen and won each of them on multiple grounds, the final one with prejudice, ending the case. This win was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top defense verdicts in the state of California.
- Trade Secrets. Served as lead counsel for a technology company accused of trade secret theft under state and federal law. Matt successfully opposed a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. Shortly thereafter, the case was voluntarily dismissed with no payment by Matt’s client.
- Uber. Represents Uber in defense of multiple cases, including consumer class actions, a securities fraud class action, and a mass action brought by taxi companies throughout California. This includes leading Uber’s defense against a securities fraud complaint seeking billions of dollars in damages. Matt was able to secure a victory at the motion to dismiss stage, dismissing the entire case. Matt also argued the appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the victory in its entirety.
- Countrywide mortgage-backed securities cases. Represented the former CEO and chairman of Countrywide in a series of securities fraud cases over mortgage-backed securities, helping to secure dismissals of the vast majority of the cases at the pleading stage.
- Confidential arbitration over real estate partnership dispute. Served as lead trial counsel for a partner in a real estate joint venture who was sued by his partner for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. After a full hearing on the merits, all claims of wrongdoing alleged against Matt’s client were rejected by the arbitration panel.
- Edward M. Wolkowitz, as Trustee for Imperial Credit Industries, Inc. v. Perry A. Lerner et al. (C.D. Cal.). Served as lead trial counsel for a bankruptcy trustee suing a former director of the bankrupt company and that director's affiliated companies. The trustee alleged that the former director breached his fiduciary duties to the company by selling an unfair and unreasonable tax shelter to his company. After a 10-day trial, Matt’s client prevailed on all claims. The tax shelter transaction was voided, and the defendants were ordered to return all money paid in the transaction plus prejudgment interest for over a decade, totaling $27 million.
- 212 Investment Corp. et al. v. Myron Kaplan et al. (New York Supreme Court and arbitration). Served as lead trial counsel for one of two co-general partners who were sued in a three-year arbitration and trial court proceeding over an alleged hedge fund fraud. After 17 days of arbitration hearings, the three-member panel denied all claims against Matt’s client and awarded the client all of his attorneys' fees and costs expended in defending himself, totaling in excess of $1.6 million. The other general partner suffered a $77 million arbitration award.
- Confidential arbitration over real estate partnership dispute. Played a leading role in an arbitration involving a dispute over San Diego and North Los Angeles County real property worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Matt’s client was alleged to have improperly and fraudulently obtained partnership property in breach of his fiduciary duties to his partner. After 16 days of arbitration hearings, the arbitrator denied all claims against Matt’s client and awarded him the disputed real estate.
Honors & Awards
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (2024)
- Selected to the Daily Journal’s “Leading Commercial Litigators” list (2023-2024)
- Named to the Southern California Super Lawyers list (2014-2024)
- Honored with a Daily Journal “CLAY Award” for leading the team that defeated at the pleading stage an antitrust case brought against his clients by Intel (2022)
- Recognized by the Daily Journal as having secured one of California's top defense verdicts in obtaining the antitrust victory mentioned above (2021)
- Featured in Law360’s “Trial Pros” series (2016)
- Orange County Bar Association
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Federal Bar Association
Yale Law School (J.D., 1998)
Tulane University (B.S., Economics, 1995), summa cum laude
- California, 1998
- U.S. District Courts within California
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits